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MediaWiki extensions manual
OOjs UI icon advanced.svg
Release status: beta
Implementation Page action, Ajax, Special
Description Allows to add, edit and observe semantic annotations to texts
Author(s) Oliver Lutzi (Wingolitalk)
Latest version 0.1 (2014-01-12)
MediaWiki 1.19+
Database changes No
License No license specified
Download v0.1
Translate the Wingoli/sandbox extension if it is available at

Semantic Text Annotator is an extension for Semantic MediaWiki developed within the research project SMW-CorA that allows you to add semantic annotations to articles in your wiki. It requires Semantic MediaWiki, SemanticForms, SemanticResultForms and ParserFunctions to work.

We do not recommend to use it in a production system!

Current version (0.1) was only tested on articles containing plain texts! (Simple syntax, e.g., making text bold ('''TEXT''') or italic (''TEXT'') works.)

Does not work with long articles!


You can download the extension here.


  1. Unzip the downloaded zip file. Put the folder 'SemanticTextAnnotator' into your wikis extension folder.
  2. Include the following line in your LocalSettings.php :
  3. Make sure that you include the extensions Validator, Semantic MediaWiki, SemanticForms, SemanticResultForms and ParserFunctions before you include the SemanticTextAnnotator!
  4. Don't forget to setup the extension!


After the installation you have to visit the page "Special:SemanticTextAnnotator". This will automatically create all templates and forms the extension works with.


This is a brief introduction on how to use the Semantic Text Annotator.

Creating annotations[edit]

After successful installation, you have to put all pages that you want to annotate in the category "STA_Annotatable" by adding the following text to the source code of the article:


Once you visit pages of the category "STA_Annotatable", the two buttons New Annotation and View Annotations will appear next to the text "Semantic Text Annotator" on top of the article.

Clicking on the button New Annotation will start the "annotation mode". You can now select a passage in the text with your mouse. A pop-up message will appear when you release the mouse button, where you can confirm your selection or abort the process.

If you confirmed your selection a Semantic Forms popup window will appear showing the default form for text annotations. In this window, you can specify the details of your annotation. By default there are two fields you can put text in to annotate the selected passage. Both fields will be stored as semantic properties. The first property is called "STAannotationType" and the second one "STAcomment". There are plans to make this form customizable in future development. In the current version, you should not change the default form due to unclear dependencies.

After clicking on the "Save"-button you will automatically switch to the "annotation view" where all annotations are displayed.

Displaying annotations[edit]

To display annotations that you have created, click on the button View Annotations. Every annotation is represented by a horizontal line on the left side of the article's text. You can view the information which belong to an annotation by moving your mouse cursor over the respective horizontal line.

Changing and deleting annotations[edit]

When you select an annotation via mouseover you can press the button Change Annotation to change the values of the semantic properties that belong to the observed annotation. By clicking Delete Annotation the annotation will be deleted.

Query annotations[edit]

You can query annotated text passages that have been given a certain value in one of its semantic properties. For example you can query all annotations where the value "King_Speech_Annotation " has been attached to the property "STAannotationType" and that where made by the user "Olutzi" by using the following syntax:

{{#ask: [[STAannotationType::King_Speech_Annotation]] [[STAcreatedBy::Olutzi]]
|? STAannotatedText 
|? STAcomment
|? STAcreatedBy
|? STAannotationDate

In the screenshot, the resulting annotations are ordered by the date of their creation.

How it works[edit]

The Semantic Text Annotator defines a custom namespace for annotations (TextAnnotation:). Each annotation is stored as a unique page in this namespace. The information of an annotation are stored in semantic properties on this page. Some property values are defined by the user through the pop up form window. By default there are two properties the user can define himself:

Can be used to categorize the selected text passage.


Can be used to briefly describe the selected text passage within its category.

Semantic Text Annotator also defines a few custom properties that are added to an annotation page that are necessary to correctly store and retrieve annotations.

An unique number to identify every annotation.
The name of the article the annotated text passage belongs to.
The date the annotation has been created or changed.
The user that created the annotation.

Future development[edit]

The Semantic Text Annotator is still under heavy development. Feedback, bug reports and feature requests are therefore very welcome!

Planned features[edit]

  1. Executability of the extension on articles containing all possible syntax
  2. Customizable structure of the user-defined semantic properties
  3. Possibility to change the position of an annotated text passage ex post by dragging start and end of the selected area

Known issues[edit]

Currently, the biggest problem of the extension is that it only works properly in short articles containing certain syntax. It has not been tested yet, which syntax causes malfunctions and which syntax can be processed adequately.


The Semantic Text Annotator is based on the extension "Semantic Image Annotator" by Felix Obenauer, which provides similiar functionality for image files.